Because I know that many people prefer tracing the design onto the fabric using water soluble pens, I also wanted to test this method for Schwalm whitework.
I taped the design onto a lightpad. Lightpads are perfect for tracing embroidery patterns onto fabric – also a table with a glass top and a lighted lamp below is suitable.
Leuchtenpaneel mit Musterblatt | LightPad with the design

I marked the lengthwise and crosswise grain lines on a piece of linen (Weddigen linen, 13.5/cm thread count), and carefully positioned this on top of the design which also had perpendicular central lines drawn. The linen, thus positioned, is then taped to the lightpad.

Using a water soluble, extra fine marking pen,
wasserlöslicher Markierstift | water erasable marking pen
extra feine Spitze | extra fine tipI started the tracing. First I used a very light touch. On the fabric, the markings appeared in light dots at an uneven distance. So I then applied a little more pressure. This time, the lines appeared clearly on the fabric – not too fine, but also not too thick. I traced the heart shape first; the result was acceptable. Then I traced the smaller half-circles. If I pressed too hard, the tip of the pen got caught between the fabric threads and the lines became uneven. Even trying to do my best, not all curves came out as I wanted. Often the pen followed the thread line and created straight instead of curved lines.

At first sight, with the design sheet and light below, the result looks acceptable.

nachgezeichnete Kontur | traced designViewed alone and without the light below, the tracing does not look so good. The curves are uneven and sometimes jagged – definitely not smoothly rounded.

Buegel-Abdruck Clover | iron-transfer print CloverFor directly comparision I here show the same design transferred by ironing.

I am able to adjust some of the unevenness by embroidering, but not all.
die Farbe wird nicht abgerieben | the colour did not fadeThe colour did not fade and it was easy to follow the lines.
After finishing the embroidery, I washed it, as the instructions direct, with clear water. At once all colour was gone; the image shows the wet piece after being held under running water for a short time.

sehr schnell und einfach auswaschbar | very easy washable

Nevertheless I boiled it for shrinking. Starched and ironed it looks nice, but a trained eye notices the unevenness.

fertige Arbeit | finished piece

Perhaps this transfer method is better suited for finer fabrics with a more even surface. Another consideration must be made for the intricate Schwalm whitework designs that include small leaves, many tendrils and the half-eyelet scallops; I would not suggest this design transfer method for such designs.

Have you experimented with these products, or others? Then please leave a comment.

  1. I have not experienced this problem myself because I stopped using these pens before I tried them for transferring a design, but Mary Corbet has found that the colour does not go completely from the fabric even when it is washed. Other people have also commented that they have experienced the same thing: that is the ink lines come back after a time as yellow marks. This may not matter if your embroidery covers every bit of the ink, but in the case of Schwalm and other whitework, it may show around your stitching like a kind of halo.
    Have a look at Mary’s post on the subject at

  2. Thank you Christina, for sending this comment and especially for sending the link to Mary Corbet´s post on this subject.
    Best regards

  3. Ich arbeite am liebsten auf 22/22 Leinen und benutze zum Aufzeichnen immer den dickeren (blauen) Trickmarker von Prym. Wenn mal eine Spirale, Blatt oder Schnürlochbogen etwas schief gelingt, kann man diese ja beim Sticken noch corrigieren. Wenn alle Kontouren, Blättchen usw. gestickt sind, lege ich die Decke kurz in kaltes Wasser und weg ist die blaue Zeichnung. Dann erst ziehe ich die Fädchen und sticke die Muster.
    Den feinen Trickmarker benutze ich nicht mehr, da man damit sehr leicht den Stoff aufkratzt.
    Liebe Grüsse aus Antwerpen – Veerle

    • Danke, Verle, für den Hinweis.
      Haben Sie schon einmal bemerkt, dass die Farbe nach langer Zeit – manchmal erst nach einem Jahr – wiederkam und als gelber Schimmer zu sehen war, der sich nicht mehr entfernen ließ?
      Viele liebe Grüsse

  4. Habe gerade meine Decken untersucht und nichts von einem Gelbschimmer entdeckt, ich benutze allerdings nie weissen Stoff, meistens crème, écru oder hellgelb.


  5. Hi Luzine!

    I used many times the Prym pen and am happy with it.
    But what I use all th time is the iron-on transfer pencil you’ve talked about. Both of them wash beautifully from linen.
    Thanks a lot for so many tricks you are sharing with us.
    Warm regards

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